Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 sales paused in the US due to a patent dispute – Engadget

If you’re planning to buy an Apple Watch Series 9 or Apple Watch Ultra 2, you may want to act quickly. Apple says it will soon halt sales of both devices in the US due to a International Trade Commission (ITC) ban, which is related to a patent dispute over the wearables’ blood oxygen sensor. Sales will be suspended online this week and at Apple retail locations after December 24.

A Presidential Review Period is in progress regarding an order from the US International Trade Commission on a technical intellectual property dispute pertaining to Apple Watch devices containing the Blood Oxygen feature,” Apple told Engadget in a statement. “While the review period will not end until December 25, Apple is preemptively taking steps to comply should the ruling stand. This includes pausing sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 from starting December 21, and from Apple retail locations after December 24.”

The Apple Watch SE will remain available for purchase as it doesn’t have a blood oxygen sensor. Previously purchased Apple Watch units that include the blood oxygen feature are unaffected (the Apple Watch Series 6 was the company’s first device to offer blood-oxygen monitoring). The Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 will still be available to buy outside of the US.

Medical tech company Masimo sued Apple in 2021 over alleged violations of patents related to light-based blood-oxygen monitoring. In October, the ITC upheld a judge’s ruling from earlier this year that the Apple Watch did violate Masimo’s patents.

The ITC’s order blocks all Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 imports to the US after December 25. Other retailers, such as Amazon and Best Buy, can continue to sell the devices for the time being, as 9to5 Mac first reported.

Following the ITC’s decision, the case went to the White House for a 60-day Presidential Review Period. Although President Biden has one more week to decide whether to veto the ITC ruling, Apple has opted to preemptively comply with the commission’s decision.

Apple plans to lodge an appeal with the Federal Circuit. It can also reach a settlement with Masimo or issue software updates that nullify patent infringements (likely by deactivating blood oxygen features). Apple will provide more information on the situation after the Presidential Review Period expires on December 25.

The US Trade Representative will also review the ITC’s order. It has the option to disapprove of the ITC’s action due to policy reasons.

“Apple’s teams work tirelessly to create products and services that empower users with industry-leading health, wellness, and safety features,” the company said. “Apple strongly disagrees with the order and is pursuing a range of legal and technical options to ensure that Apple Watch is available to customers. Should the order stand, Apple will continue to take all measures to return Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to customers in the US as soon as possible.”

Masimo has released its own smartwatch that Apple claims is an Apple Watch knockoff. Apple filed two patent infringement suits of its own against Masimo in October 2022, asserting that it copied patented Apple Watch features.

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